Recently a video went viral that showed four persons getting injured when several cars piled up due to fog and low visibility on the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida’s Dankaur area. Vehicles collided on both sides of the expressway as drivers witnessed low visibility due to fog. However, this is not the first major pile-up of vehicles on the Yamuna expressway. Every year during winter, vehicles crash into each other due to fog and low visibility on the high-speed corridor, leading to fatalities in many cases.
As per an RTI query, there have been a staggering 4,076 accidents since the Expressway opened in August 2012. Clearly, this has given the highway the dubious distinction of a highway to hell.
“In 2012 (August onwards) the number of deaths was 33 from 275 accidents. The figures for 2013 were 118 deaths from 896 accidents; in 2014 the number of accidents was 771 resulting in 127 deaths, while in 2015, 142 people lost their lives in 919 accidents,” Agra Development Foundation secretary K.C. Jain had said answering the RTI query.
As compared to 2015, 30 per cent more accidents took place on the Yamuna Expressway in 2016, however, fatalities were a bit lower during the same period.
The officials blame the large number of fatalities to expressway’s flawed design, laxity of the police and the expressway authority, and the concrete roads. It took Rs 13,000 crore and 10 years for Noida based Jaypee Infratech to built the 165-km long Yamuna Expressway.
They also say that so far there has not been a mechanism in place to monitor the speed of vehicles and challan (book) them promptly. Despite clear instructions to not exceed the speed limit beyond 100 kmph, most vehicles cross 150 kmph. During summer months, vehicles driving at such a high speed lose balance or their tyres overheat and burst, causing accidents. In winter the fog turns the culprit.
On the other hand, motorists often claim that they rarely see patrol parties or checks. Boozing and no proper training of drivers are also some of the reason that have caused such a high number of accidents on the highway.
An RTI query has also revealed that there are as many as 30 black spots on expressway. It is high time that the governments take strict action and implement stronger safety measures so that people do not overspeed.